Training for new managers: the key topics to cover

The transition from individual contributor to new manager can be really hard.

It’s a lot! And as hard as it is to believe, the majority of new managers don’t receive any training to prepare them for the role. In fact, 98% of managers want better management training.

And excitingly, an increasing number of HR and People teams are investing in training for new managers.

As a result, they’re developing more confident, effective managers with high performing teams.

Interested in investing in new manager training at your organization, but not sure what topics your programs should cover? Below, we’ve broken down the key topics so you can make sure you cover all your bases when training new managers.

#1. How to practice awareness

Managers are inherently intended to have an impact on systems and people. They achieve goals by working through others.

This means that their ability to understand a situation, their role and the dynamics of other people in it, is critical to their success.
That’s why it’s vital to teach new managers how to be aware. This means, being conscious of their environment, the people in it and themselves.

Being aware might not be the first thing new managers naturally look to do – they might have been thrown into their role, are doing a hundred different things to support the business, are still responsible for their individual contributor work, etc, etc.

But awareness becomes an increasingly important aspect of a managers’ role, particularly when their team is remote or disconnected.

And if awareness is not practiced by managers, it can result in declines in team morale, performance issues and attrition.

That’s why it’s such a critical topic for any manager training program to cover.

#2. How managers can set their teams up to succeed through strategic care

A manager’s job is to set their team members up for success in their roles. It sounds obvious, but to be able to do this, managers need to care.

Now, we’re not necessarily talking about birthday cake at the office or gushy conversations (however, it can mean those things too).

Rather, when managers are taught about how to show strategic care for employees, it means they’re more likely to learn important things about individuals that help them manage more effectively.

For example, taking the time to understand the working style, motivations, strengths and weaknesses of each of their direct reports.

High quality manager training programs should teach your managers to develop a foundation of care that feels authentic to them.

Training also needs to cover how to avoid ‘over-care’, which is when managers find themselves caring too much (think: avoiding clear performance conversations because they don’t want to “pile on” to their direct reports’ personal problems). This became increasingly common amid the pandemic and the shift to remote work, when managers found themselves as the sole point of contact with employees on a daily basis.

#3. How to share the important stuff – like expectations and feedback

Managers will often find themselves in possession of important information, like context and narrative from the broader organization, and insights to shed light on a problem or inform a decision.

The best managers are mindful about what, when and how they transfer information. They consider their audience, communicate up, down and all around, filter and organize, and use the right tone and best method for delivery.

Some of the most important pieces of information managers can share with their direct reports are expectations and feedback.

When clear – these can transform into a helpful set of interactions that enable direct reports to do their best work. When delivered poorly, they can feel micro-managey or be confusing.

The best manager training programs give managers practical ways to deliver information, especially expectations and feedback. It will focus on best practices that can be applied when delivering information in almost any setting with anyone on their teams (or within their organizations).

#4. How to be an owner

One of the biggest shifts that comes with being a people manager is a shift in ownership – becoming accountable to an outcome, how to get there, and empowering work through others in order to do it all.

As individual contributors, we’re all expected to own our own results and behaviors. But new managers are now expected to own the performance of their teams, as well as culture, values and team engagement.

This shift comes as managers are pulled in more directions, with the new activity that comes with the role – they need to attend more meetings, respond to more messages, triage more issues, and spend more time on other people’s work.

That’s why a key topic in training for new managers revolves around ownership, and giving managers the skills, courage and determination to embrace what we call “ownership mode”.

This involves becoming a master of their own time, delegating work effectively and daring to push themselves and their teams to achieve great results.

There’s no two ways about it – being a new manager is hard. But by investing in training for your new managers that gives them the skills, perspective and resources to lead, you’ll be setting them up for success from the outset.

To discover more about how The Mintable partners with leading HR and People teams to give their managers the training, ongoing support and resources to be incredible, get a demo today.